Best and Worst Employee Gifts for 2019

Best and Worst Employee Gifts for 2019

The holidays are here, the year is winding to a close, and it’s time to start thinking about your hard-working employees. They’ve given it their all, and you want to reward them without breaking the bank or giving them something they won’t enjoy.

Employee gifts are a nice gesture meant to convey to your employees that you appreciate them. But sometimes, it can be difficult to find just the right gift, especially when you have a lot of employees and not a lot of time. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, just a thoughtful one.

The Dos and Don’ts of Employee Gift-Giving

Don’t give them all the same gift. It can be difficult to find something personal for everyone but giving the same item to all your employees comes across as cold and thoughtless.

Do add a personal touch. When you go out of your way to make the gift personal, then your employees will appreciate the effort. They’ll know you care about them as a person.

Don’t give the same Christmas card. When you print off thirty of the same generic Christmas letters and pass them out to the team, they will feel like you couldn’t take the time to write out a simple note.

Do hand-write a note. Hand-writing a note to give to each of your employees shows that you were thinking of them and that you were willing to take the time to show them.

Worst Gift Examples

A lot of employers make the mistake of giving out merchandise with the company logo on them. T-shirts, coffee mugs, backpacks, you name it, someone has handed it out at the holiday party. Somehow during the holidays, covering everything in the company logo makes it feel like less of a gift and more like self-promotion. It’s no longer, “I appreciate you,” but instead it becomes, “free advertising.” Or worse, you’re re-gifting merchandise left over from the last event or promotion.

Office supplies are another big no-no. You may have good intentions, but your employees don’t need another set of pens or sticky notes. It sends the message, “Happy holidays, now go work more.”

A gift card seems like a good idea, but it isn’t always. You don’t have to shop for your employees, you just give them store credit and they go buy it themselves. But your employees want to feel like they’re worth more than a twenty-dollar piece of plastic. If you’re giving gift cards, personalize the gift, if possible, by learning where each employee likes to shop or eat and purchasing cards from their favorite vendors.

Best Gift Examples

List what you know about employee likes and dislikes, then use that to generate your gift list. One good idea is to buy food or drinks for your employees. Gourmet chocolates, fancy coffee beans, a favorite type of tea, or other items are good examples. You don’t need a large quantity, just seek out things they wouldn’t buy for themselves but would still enjoy.

Consider a scarf for the employee who is always cold at the office. For the dog lover, purchase a subscription to BarkBox or Pooch Perks.

However, one of the things that your employees will appreciate most isn’t a material item. Paid time off or leave-early passes are great ideas for inexpensive and appreciated gifts.

This holiday season give your employees something they will feel good about. You’ve all worked hard over the year, now it’s time to enjoy the holidays with your family. For more advice on being an outstanding employer, check out Bad Boss or Motivational Leader – Which One Are You?

4 Holiday Workplace Problems and How to Avoid Them

4 Holiday Workplace Problems and How to Avoid Them

Holidays can be just as stressful as they are happy, both for managers and employees. Planning can help businesses avoid some of the common problems that go along with the season. Let’s jump right into ways to head off some of the most common seasonal problems before they occur.

The Christmas Party

You’ve seen the worst-case scenario in the movies, and you might have experienced it in real life as well. People get caught up in the celebration and forget they’re at a work-related event. Set the tone early and avoid potential problems by planning ahead. Review the employee handbook together and let all staff know the same standards apply at company-sponsored events.

In your invite, mention attire. When you specify business casual or business formal (or even have an ugly sweater party), you’re less likely to have employees show up dressed in after-hours clothing.

If you’re serving alcohol, avoid an open bar, issue drink tickets or hire a bartender you can trust to keep things in check. Serve good food constantly. Make sure you have options for people with food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Be aware not everyone celebrates Christmas. Make your holiday party voluntary and hold it outside of work hours. Let everyone know they’re welcome, but don’t force or require attendance.

Scheduling Conflicts

Another huge problem for employers during the holidays is that everyone wants off at the same time. It’s understandable people want to be with their families during the holidays, and often that means travel. Cold and flu season starts at the same time, further complicating issues.

Employees have lots to do with holiday shopping, entertaining and travel. Prepare to receive more time-off requests than normal. Consider using flex time as a reward, or implementing a rotating schedule for employees who complete tasks early and want to take a morning or afternoon for personal tasks.

Announce your policy for approving absences early, and set a deadline for requests. Some bosses approve based on seniority, others take a first-come-first-served approach.

Decreased Productivity

Your staff has more to do during the holidays, but you still have a business to run. Accept the fact employees are going to be distracted, and then make plans to create fresh energy and engagement.

Consider planning office competitions based around the holidays, with time off or small perks for teams who reach their goals. Boost morale with more flexible holiday hours. Publicly recognize and reward employees who give 100 percent every day of the year.

Not Enough Employees

Sometimes office problems happen because there’s too much work and not enough people to keep up. It’s not too late to hire seasonal or temporary help to get you through the busy 2019 holidays. Contact Brelsford Personnel to find out more.

Rituals That Help You Leave Work Stress at the Office

Rituals That Help You Leave Work Stress at the Office

Does this sound like you? You give 100 percent all day at work, and by the time you leave, you’re mentally exhausted. On your commute, you go back over the day’s events and all the things you meant to get to but didn’t. You stop by the grocery store and shop with the rest of the tired after-work crowd and their hungry, cranky kids and finally make it home.

Your spouse had the same intense kind of day you did, so when you see each other you’re both short-tempered, and sometimes tempers flare. Earlier in the day you meant to cook a healthy meal and exercise, but now your heart just isn’t in it. Half of your mind is still processing work problems, and your evening just makes you more stressed and exhausted.

If that sounds like most nights in your household, consider changing up your after-work routine. Rituals allow you to decompress and leave stress at the office so you can relax while you’re home and reconnect with family instead of turning home into a stressful environment.

Why Establish an After Work Routine

Experts at Psychology Today studied distressed couples and found many arguments aren’t triggered by money or substance abuse, but by the inability to transition from work to home. Someone said or didn’t do the right thing during initial interactions and the disagreement and tension escalated as the evening went on. In contrast, people who had rituals that allowed themselves to transition were much less likely to experience that type of disagreement.

Even if you’re not coming home to family members, it’s beneficial to have transition rituals. When you set clear boundaries between work and personal life, you allow yourself much needed time to recharge. Here are a few suggestions for creating an after-work routine.

Before You Leave Your Desk

Start the transition at work. Take a few minutes to clear away what you completed and won’t need the next day. Write down the tasks you need to work on first thing in the morning, then as you place your note where you’ll see it, mentally picture setting those tasks aside. You’re not going to forget, so there’s no need to worry about them on the way home.

On the Way to Your Car

Transitioning rituals are intentional. At work, interactions revolve around the jobs that need to be done. Reward or punishment is tied to performance. At home, every person has value, regardless of their performance. You have a different type of to-do list, but interactions should provide affection and support. When you go home you’re not just changing physical locations, you’re shifting your mindset.

As you cross the parking lot to your vehicle, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Picture exhaling the day’s stress like a cloud of black smoke, then let it float away.

During Your Commute

As you start your car, take a minute for gratitude. Mentally list three things about your home life for which you are thankful.

As you drive, be intentional about letting go of stress. Now isn’t the time to catch up on the news. Instead, play music that improves your state of mind. For some people that might mean upbeat, happy tunes. Others unwind with relaxing music. If you need a dose of positivity, consider a comedy monologue.

Entering Your Home

A lot of people feel rushed at work, then when they get home they rush to cook dinner, help with homework, get kids bathed and off to bed, then knock out tasks for the next day. When you enter your home, take a brief pause and be both mentally and physically still.

Before you walk through the door, recognize what’s inside is part of the reason you go to work every day. Your family, your pets, your friends and your hobbies give meaning to your life. If other people live with you, seek them out, and make your first interactions positive ones.

Taking Care of Yourself

When you make your weekly grocery run, stock up on easy-to-grab healthy snacks. Eat one while you take a few minutes to unwind. Nourish your body before you’re starving and you won’t be as tempted to have Waitr bring you pizza. After you grab a snack, spend time doing your favorite physical activity to work stress and tension out of your muscles and blast your brain cells with endorphins.

Finding a Job You Love

If your job is making it difficult for you to enjoy the rest of your life, maybe it’s time for a change. Check out our online job postings to see if one might be a fit for you.

Be Sure You’re Hired With These Simple Steps

Be Sure You’re Hired With These Simple Steps

The job interview is the best place to present yourself as a capable employee, but how do you land one in the first place? Sometimes you feel like you’re sending resumes and job applications into the void. Give yourself the best chance of getting a meeting with decision makers by following these steps.

Don’t Apply for Every Posting

Sometimes people think if they blast out their resume to every possibility, eventually someone will respond. That’s not the best use of your time and effort. What works better is to make a super-concentrated list and focus on the options that offer the best fit. Take a two-pronged approach.

First, list the companies or types of employer for which you would most like to work. Before you focus your energy and effort on getting them to hire you, you want to know if they’re a match for your long-term goals and career expectations.

Second, identify which of those companies have job postings that match your strengths. You should read the description and say “That’s me!” If you say, “well, that’s at least partly true,” go on to the next job description.

Research, Research, Research

Get in the door by learning everything there is to know about the companies at which you’re applying. Research helps you identify contacts within the company, gives you a better sense of company culture and helps you tailor your cover letter and resume to catch the right manager’s eye.

Look at their website, comb through social media accounts and read what other sources have to say about their products and services. Know how they’re active in the community and what the media has to say about them. As you’re preparing your application materials, note the following:

  • What the company does and why they do it
  • What duties the job you’re applying for includes
  • Who uses the company’s products and services
  • Who are the people in leadership and what is their history with the organization
  • What’s their hiring process

Use Your Contacts

When you’re researching, you might uncover contacts you didn’t realize you had within the organization you want to hire you. If it’s someone you’re close to, give them a call, explain your interest in the job and be specific about your skills and qualifications. If they give you a referral, be sure to follow up with a thank you.

You also might find connections within your professional organizations, alumni association or LinkedIn groups. If you email a request for help give yourself the best chance of success with a clear, concise subject line, thoughtful body text that outlines your qualifications and possibly a link to a pdf of your resume.

Tailor Your Cover Letter and Resume

Use your cover letter and resume to highlight how you fit the job description. For your objective, opt for a targeted section that includes the company name. Hone your qualifications summary by removing statements that don’t match up with the job requirements and being specific about the skills you have that do. Go through your employment history and include language that puts related work experience front and center.

When you’ve finished with your resume, do the same thing with your cover letter. Use the job description and what you know about the company to show how you’re the perfect fit.

Try a Fresh Approach

It’s great so much information is available online, but sometimes you just want to interact with actual Northeast Texans who can help you with your career goals. At Brelsford Personnel, our staff has more than 35 years combined experience with staffing, and we’re trusted by some of the best employers in the area. Find out more about our fresh approach or view our open positions to get started.

How to Answer Interview Questions Like a STAR

How to Answer Interview Questions Like a STAR

We all know that feeling of anxiety that builds up in your stomach before something big happens. We’ve felt the knots that make you feel like you want to pass out, or the fluttering that begs you just to get it over with. Interviews bring out the nerves in almost everyone.

And no wonder, the stakes are high. If you aren’t able to articulate your strengths, you could see your hopes for a better job, more income, less stress and more professional satisfaction go right down the drain. If you’re successful you could land the career you’ve been dreaming about. Calm your anxiety and focus your energy using the STAR method.

What is the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a formula for answering behavioral interview questions in a way that clearly demonstrates your qualifications for the position. It allows you to tell a story that equally answers the question and shows off your skills.

Many employers ask behavioral interview questions to discover how you reacted in past situations. They usually begin with something like, “Tell me about a time when…”

Interviewers ask these questions to get an insight into the type of employee you are, so they can establish whether they wish to hire you. These questions can be overwhelming, but the STAR method gives a framework you can use to answer them.

  • Situation – The first step to delivering a clear and concise answer to behavioral interview questions is to set the stage. Establish a context for the situation by giving the interviewer a little background information. Basically, describe the scene in just a few words or sentences.
  • Task – Next, describe your role and the obstacle you faced. Were you in charge of a project? In a management position?
  • Action – Explain how you overcame the conflict. Try to focus on how you specifically solved the problem, not on those around you. “I did this” rather than “we did this.”
  • Result – What was the outcome and how did it benefit the organization? If you have specific examples, this would be the time to use them. Say something like, “Sales went up by 10%” or “The cost of labor went down by 10%.”

Acing Your Interview

If you have a clear plan for answering interview questions, fear and anxiety have less room in your life. You can speak with confidence. But how do you apply the STAR method?

Prepare for the interview ahead of time by thinking of past experiences that exemplify the values listed in the job description. If you have several solid examples that you have already thought of, then you will be prepared for the interview. If you’re worried about the questions your interviewer might ask, check out How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions? Practicing your responses to these questions may help you succeed when it comes time for your interview.

Brelsford Personnel has plenty of positions to fill. If you’re ready to put the STAR method to the test, be sure to check out our online postings.

TACC Celebrates Community Achievement at Annual Event

TACC Celebrates Community Achievement at Annual Event

For many East Texans there are months left in the year, but not for the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC). Their fiscal year ends on September 30, so their year just came to a close. They celebrated with an annual event recognizing Chamber accomplishments and presenting awards to community members.

I Choose Tyler

The event was held at Harvey Convention Center and catered by Stanley’s and Roast Social Kitchen. The banquet’s theme was “I Choose Tyler,” and that message resonated throughout the evening. “A lot of people come to Tyler for a specific reason,” Henry Bell, TACC’s Chief Operating Officer said, “And they end up staying because it’s just such a great place.”

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to encourage an environment where businesses can thrive and to enhance both economic well-being and quality of life in the area. Over 2,500 businesses, organizations and individuals make up the association. Amazingly, it is the fourth largest Chamber in the state of Texas.

This Year’s Highlights

The Chamber of Commerce is made up of subcommittees that enhance different aspects of community life and business development. They’re responsible for why so many people do choose Tyler for their place to live and do business.

Big things happened this past year because of each committee member’s commitment to making Tyler even better. Skip Ogle, Chairman of the Board for 2018-2019, introduced a video highlighting accomplishments like these:

  • The Aviation Committee celebrated the completion of Runway 422 at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, part of ongoing improvements to that side of the facility. On July 2, Frontier Airlines started offering nonstop flights to Denver, connecting Tyler to a second transportation hub.
  • The Energy Committee offered the 2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas, bringing key industry experts to Tyler. They also continued to stimulate area job growth by establishing the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) chapter. This partnership encourages apprenticeships between area businesses and educational institutions.
  • The Surface Transportation Committee worked to improve the transportation infrastructure around Tyler alongside NetRMA, the Texas Department of Transportation, Smith County and the City of Tyler. Work is ongoing in places like Old Jacksonville, Loop 49, Rhones Quarter Road and Paluxy.
  • The Business Development Council hosted multiple expos to support Tyler area businesses. Their program “School is Cool” provided supplies and services for thousands of students before classes started this year.
  • The Business Education Council focused efforts connecting local businesses and the area economy. The program matched city and local business leaders with Tyler ISD high school seniors to work together to ensure senior success.
  • Visit Tyler reported last year visitors spent $386 million in Tyler. The 2019 Azalea Trail alone had an economic impact of almost $1.9 million.

Business of the Year Awards

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Business of the Year Award to local organizations that support TACC’s mission to enhance the business environment, economic well-being and quality of life for the Tyler area. Cooperative Teacher’s Credit Union received the Small Business of the Year Award because of their heart for giving, community involvement and support for the Chamber Education Committee.

Mewbourne Oil Company received the 2018-2019 Large Business of the Year Award. TACC commended the organization’s high standards in hiring and its support of local events.

TACC Award Winners

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce presented several awards at the evening event. Bob Garrett, an East Texas real estate developer and president of Fair Oil Company of Texas received the T.B. Butler Award, an award Butler Publishing Company has presented to outstanding leaders since 1929. Friends and associates describe Garrett as a man of his word, who can handle any challenge and do so with integrity.

The W.C. Windsor Award goes to Tyler’s most outstanding person under the age of 40. This year’s recipient was Lindsey Shaver Harrison, director of sales for medical device company NanoVibronix. Harrison founded flippingtyler.com, is a board member of the Children’s Advocacy Center, serves as public relations chair of the Cattle Baron’s Committee and has been involved in several volunteer organizations.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce also presented our own Gates Brelsford with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Gates has been the Team Lead for the Energy Summit of Northeast Texas for several years. The March 2019 Energy Summit had a record of 450 attendees and 35 sponsors. The Energy Summit exists to bring top industry experts to East Texas and focuses on:

  • Job creation in Northeast Texas
  • New investment in energy resources
  • Educating the general public about the benefits of the energy industry

For more on this year’s energy summit, see our 2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas Recap.

Live Love Tyler

The Chamber welcomed June Cheatham as the 2019-2020 Chair of the Board. She challenged attendees to ponder what it means to live in Tyler, to love Tyler and to live out your love on a daily basis. “To love Tyler is to love its people,” she said, “To commit to its people…which each of you do on a daily basis as you either own, operate or work for entities that provide jobs and stability for the people of Tyler.”

At Brelsford Personnel, that’s a commitment we take seriously. We feel privileged to be part of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and our community. We look forward to serving area residents and members of the business community in the year ahead.

The (Previously) Unwritten Rules of Office Messaging Etiquette

The (Previously) Unwritten Rules of Office Messaging Etiquette

Real-time messaging applications have become extremely popular in the workplace. As you use any tool more frequently, there’s a greater possibility of making mistakes.

It’s so easy to just type out a message to your boss or co-workers and send it without considering the consequences. Save yourself from embarrassment by following these simple rules.

Don’t Flood the Feed

It is annoying to receive multiple messages from the same impatient sender when you step away from your phone for a minute. It is just as annoying (if not more so) when it happens at work.

If your coworker isn’t responding at first, don’t keep prodding them. They will answer you when they have a moment, and will appreciate you giving them time to respond.

Don’t Overuse Emojis

Emojis shouldn’t be part of every message. It’s okay to use one occasionally, but your coworkers don’t want to see forty laughing emojis when you think something is funny. One has just the same effect.

If someone has done something great, then emojis can give expression to your enthusiasm. When you use emojis judiciously, and thoughtfully they enhance your communication. However, using them for everything is unprofessional and not effective.

Emojis are like salt. Adding them to your conversation in moderation makes it flavorful, while overdoing it leaves a bad taste.

Punctuation and All Caps

One exclamation point or question mark will do. Also, as with most online communication, if you use all caps it’s as if you’re yelling.

Don’t Forget You Can Still Email

If you have large attachments or huge blocks of information you need to pass along, put it into an email instead or a text. When you clog the feed with huge verbal chunks, people can’t keep up with all the details.

Carefully crafted email allows for important information to be more appropriately organized. Readers can easily find the information later when they need to remember what the sender said.

Be Aware

  • Don’t use swear words – It isn’t uncommon for people to use curse words in their texting. With your friends and family, it may not be a big deal. At work, you should avoid even acronyms that stand for swear words. Mainstream phrases and abbreviations that are funny outside of work don’t always seem that way in professional conversation.
  • Use caution with slang and acronyms – Stick with plain English and standard grammar unless you’re positive the receiver will understand what you’re sending and the language nuances behind it.
  • Remember everyone can see it – Your coworkers and your bosses can see the conversation, so don’t share personal information about yourself or others. Avoid gossip and refrain from criticizing your coworkers.
  • Tailor your speech – Be aware of who you are speaking to. If you’re talking to your coworkers, it’s usually okay to be a bit more casual than you would be if you were talking to your boss. Don’t let the form of communication take away from your level of respect.

Every Bit Counts

Everything you say to your boss and coworkers can be recorded by office messaging applications, so keep that in mind when you communicate over text. Apps can be a tool that helps you work more efficiently, or they could waste time and damage your professional image.

Don’t let your instant messaging take away from the hard work you put in. Be your most professional self when you’re on the job and save more relaxed communication for after hours.

Better Listeners Make Better Employees – Here’s How to Get There

Better Listeners Make Better Employees – Here’s How to Get There

Listening skills are treasured in the workplace and are key to becoming an effective leader. Active listening takes practice, but it’s worth the effort because in return, you gain effective working relationships. Keep reading to find out how better listening skills benefit you and how to start becoming a better listener today.

Why is it Important?

People in every role should know generally what’s going on in the workplace. Your ability to listen can significantly impact your working environment in a number of ways.

Gain Information

Listening is about gaining knowledge and acting on it at every level. You need good listening skills whether you’re an interviewer evaluating an interviewee or employee collaborating with your team. When you demonstrate good listening skills, the workplace runs more smoothly.

Build Trust

If you have good listening skills, your co-workers, employees, or supervisors trust you with information. The opposite is also true. When someone doesn’t listen to instructions, they make mistakes. Managers can’t trust them to do the job right because they don’t pay attention to important details.

How Can You Improve Your Skills?

There are a few simple steps you can take to start becoming a better listener. When you do, you’ll start to see improvement in your relationships with other supervisors, employees and customers.

  • Focus – Make sure to give the person to whom you are speaking your full focus. Keep your phone in your pocket and resist the urge to look at other distractors in the room. Electronic notifications and office fires vie for your attention, but deal with one issue at a time. When you repeatedly look away from someone who is trying to talk to you, it sends a message that you are bored or don’t care.
  • Don’t interrupt – Interrupting is rude, and it also makes the other person feel you don’t think what they have to say is important. It can lead to resentment and later conflict.
  • Ask for it in writing–When a conversation has a lot of details say something like, “I want to make sure I get all that right. When you get a minute, would you send me a text or an email with the details of what we just talked about?” Or write down the conversation yourself and ask if they could review it.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues – The speaker’s facial expressions, their posture, and their tone of voice will tell you what they are saying and perhaps more importantly, what they aren’t saying.

Take note of your own nonverbal cues as well. Make eye contact, stay turned toward the speaker and lean just slightly in. These sorts of things communicate whether you value their input.

Impacting Your Environment

A bad listener causes problems in the workplace. They might neglect to follow instructions when working with a group and cause the entire project or process to fail. In contrast, a good listener is aware of what is going on and follows instructions, leading to success.

Your experience as an employee relies strongly on your listening skills and can mean the difference between whether you are hired and promoted or demoted and fired. Better listeners make better employees.

The next time you speak to someone, first stop and think. You can practice your listening skills even in the simplest of conversations, and who knows? You may encourage others to do the same.

Good listeners make valuable employees. Employers may be looking for someone like you. Apply today.

Personal Tragedy in the Workplace – Showing Support While Respecting Privacy

Personal Tragedy in the Workplace – Showing Support While Respecting Privacy

When you spend 40 hours a week with the same people, you share success and stress, trials and triumph. You get close. But when someone experiences a personal tragedy, it can be hard to know how to react.

When a co-worker experiences a death in the family, divorce, serious illness or other difficult circumstance, you want to show you care, but you also don’t want to overstep boundaries. They may take some time off, but that’s not long enough to heal from a crisis. Here are tips for showing support.

Stay Away from These Phrases

When you don’t know what to say, it’s tempting to use phrases you’ve heard before. Avoid statements like the following:

  • I know exactly how you feel.
  • At least now he/she is in a better place.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • You can always try again.
  • God never gives us more than we can handle.

Your goal is to be supportive and say the right things, but those statements minimize what they’re going through. Plus, they’ve probably heard the same clichés from others, and it gets harder each time they’re repeated.

Avoid Comparisons

There may come a time when you can share what happened to you, but immediately after the tragedy, try not to compare what happened to your co-worker to what you or someone else you know experienced. Also, try not to offer advice unless your co-worker asks for it.

Every loss happens differently, and mourning is an individual process. You can let them know you experienced a similar loss and you’re available if they want to talk, then just leave it at, “I can’t imagine what this is like for you.”

But Don’t Avoid Your Co-Worker

Every time you see them, you hurt for what they’re going through. You don’t want to say or do the wrong thing, so it’s tempting to try and stay away. There’s nothing you can do to “fix” what they’re feeling, but you can let them know they’re not alone and that you care.

When you have a chance to talk in private, make eye contact and offer your condolences. Listen if they want to talk, and if not just be there. Send them a text every so often to let them know they’re in your thoughts.

Mail a Card

Tangible evidence of support matters. Buy a greeting card with an appropriate message and give everyone at the office time to write a brief message, then drop it in the mail. That allows everyone to express their concern and willingness to be available. Written words get read again and again. They end up as keepsakes that later, when the person has had time to heal, are evidence of the people who were there for them at the very worst times.

Start a Meal Train

It’s almost always helpful to bring food, and believe it or not, there’s an app for that. Meal Train has a free plan that allows you to create an online meal calendar, designate where co-workers should drop off food, warn about food allergies or meal preferences and send invites through email or social media. People who don’t cook but still want to participate can show support with a gift card or restaurant meal.

There’s no timeline for healing from a tragedy, and the process is difficult. Your co-worker will appreciate your support and concern throughout the process.

How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

A job interview can tie your stomach and your nerves in knots. How nervous you get is often directly related to how badly you want the job. The better the opportunity seems, the more you worry about saying or doing something that will blow your chances.

Our East Texas staffing firm does quite a bit of interviewing. We have decades of experience identifying the perfect candidate for each position. We’ve also heard responses that have us disqualifying candidates. Here we share common interview questions and advice for formulating answers that show who you are and what you know.

Interview Questions Do’s and Don’ts

Before we get to the list of interview questions, you need to know how to use it. There are countless articles online that tell you questions and what to say. It’s great to do your research, but you don’t want to just memorize a script.

Don’t just pull up what Monster or Indeed say about how to answer interview questions and parrot that back to an interviewer. Those resources are out there for everyone. Your interviewer has likely heard them from some of the applicants they met with before you. If you bring the same canned response, it says you’re either lazy or ingenuine.

Do look over the list of interview questions and make them into a mental exercise. Picture yourself in the interviewer’s office. Come up with your own answers and connect them to a work experience you’ve had in the past. Offer real-life examples to show you have hands-on experience with what they’re looking for.

Don’t stop at the end of the list. Here we’re providing common interview questions for the general portion of your interview. It’s always better to over-prepare than to under-prepare.

Do research the company and position requirements. Every profession has skill and job-related questions specific to their industry. If you’re searching online, be specific. For example, you might search for “Interview questions for accounting job” or whatever title is appropriate for your interview.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself. Succinctly outline your most recent role. Highlight past accomplishments or contributions.

Why do you want to work here? Your interviewer wants to know whether or not you did your homework. Prepare an answer that relates to company values or how your skills pair well with their specific products or services.

Why are you leaving (did you leave) your current (or previous) job? Don’t trash your old boss or complain about your previous employer. Prepare a response that mentions how you learned new skills there and are looking forward to contributing in your next position.

What are your biggest strengths? Look at the list of job requirements. Offer examples of skills and character traits that make you a good fit.

What are your greatest weaknesses? Your interviewer isn’t looking for huge personal failings. Think where you would like to improve professionally and answer candidly. For example, a teacher might say, “I plan to work on giving students more detailed feedback this year” or an office assistant might say, “I’ve realized I’m better at number crunching and data collecting than I am at writing. So I’ve started using grammar apps to make sure I don’t miss little mistakes in email and office documents.”

Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it? Your interviewer wants to know how you solve problems and deal with personal conflict. Think back through your employment history and share an example that shows your human side.

What are your salary expectations? Have an idea what’s normal for your profession and experience, then just answer frankly. Try not to overshoot or undershoot on desired salary.

Why should we hire you? Again, look over the job requirements and prepare a related answer.

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